Sunday, 26 May 2013

So what’s he actually done?

The journey started nearly twenty years ago (see post 23 May 2013). I have been researching and writing, on and off, since 1994:

  • Go through the trunk belonging to my grandfather, Edwin William “Slip” Carr, sort and conserve
  • Transcribe letters to Slip from family and friends when he was away at the First World War in the Middle East (1917-1919)
  • Sort, transcribe and catalogue scrapbooks, letters, postcards and photographs from Slip’s sporting career (1916 to 1924). Slip represented Australia in Rugby Union and at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He equalled US sprinter Charlie Paddock’s 1920 OR for 100m in 1923 and set a WR for the 60m sprint twice that year.
  • Research the vital records of the Carr line, up through my father, Eddie, my grandfather, Slip, and my great grandfather, TP Carr and their families
  • Gather stories from my father, aunts and uncles and other family members about this line of people; receive precious gifts of photos, objects and documents from family
  • Some research into my grandmother’s people – the Tysons. Her maiden name was May Queenie Tyson. A lot of work has been done by other genealogists on the Tyson family in Australia. Isabella Tyson, the matriarch, was a convict. One of her sons, James, became a fabulously wealthy pastoralist, known as “the Cattle King” - a wonderful “rags to riches” story. Click here for more about James Tyson in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  • Convert my father’s and grandfather’s 16mm home movies (some filmed in the 1930s) into digital format
  • Discover my great, great grandfather, William Henry Carr, who was born in Ireland and who emigrated to Australia in the 1850s. The family of William’s wife, Maria Lillyman, has extensively researched the Lillyman family
  • Discover that William Henry Carr had up to 15 brothers and sisters (wow), about eight of whom also migrated to Australia and New Zealand in the 19thC; research their descendants
  • This year (2013), I came into contact with some of the descendants of the siblings of William Henry Carr, expanding my knowledge of the extended Australian family
  • Another person contacted is GJ, a fourth cousin in Wales, UK who has generously shared her research and information about the Carrs back in Ireland. She also unlocked many of the secrets of a mysterious letter I found in Slip’s trunk. Written in the early 1920s by a distant Irish relative, it potentially expands significantly the Irish family tree.

[Photo: Slip Carr, Copenhagen, 1923]

Friday, 24 May 2013

Uncle Leo

Here's that photograph of Uncle Leo in his RAN officer's uniform (see post 23 May 2013). The badge on his sleeve looks like that of a Commander (See RAN ranks).

Leopold James Phillimore Carr (1892-1970) was the second son of TP and Harriett Carr. He had a distinguished career as an Engineer in the RAN, serving for 35 years from 1915. He reached the highest rank possible for a Navy Engineer and was awarded an OBE for service in the Atlantic during WWII.

Check out his entry on the WWII Nominal Roll.

He never married. He was an intelligent, kind and generous man who had a good sense of humour. I plan to do more research into his life... some day!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

How the journey started

I kept in touch with my uncle Stewart Brown in the years after Aunty Ethel died. In 1994, he was living down at Palm Beach in the old house in Florida Road where Grandpa Slip Carr had lived. He told me that he had some things that belonged to Grandpa that I might like to have. Things like photographs, letters, postcards and other memorabilia. I was interested and promised to come and get it.

I did nothing about it for a long time. Finally, more than a year after we had first spoken, my wife and I drove down to Palm Beach one Sunday morning in March 1994. She took our three girls to the beach for a few hours. I stayed up at the house with Stewart. I remember standing on the big, wooden balcony that faced a wall of trees and vines. You could just make out the sea through gaps in the green. It was hot and the birds and cicadas were almost deafening.

Uncle Stewart ushered me from the balcony into Slip’s old, dimly lit bedroom – the one nearest the front door. When my eyes got used to the dimness, Stuart showed me a big iron trunk, brown with rust. It was filled with mouldy, books, newspaper cuttings, framed photographs, smaller boxes and metal chocolate tins that held more photographs. Apart from the trunk, there was a cardboard box or two with more of this ancient stuff.

Stewart picked out a few things and told me something about them. A dirty bag with a red cross on it held a wad of letters written by family and friends to Slip when he was a soldier in World War I. A set of photographs of Grandma Queenie and her sisters as young girls. One, in a heavy metal frame, of a youthful Uncle Leo in his naval officer’s uniform. Stewart pointed out a photo of Slip in 1940 in Australian Army uniform, with Don Bradman, signed by both men. Stewart said this was one of Slip’s favourites.

I remember my growing feeling of excitement at being given this amazing treasure chest. I will be forever grateful to Stewart for passing it on to me.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Carr family history blog begins


This is my first post on Blogger.

I want to:
  • record my family history research and discoveries
  • connect with family and others interested in this tree
  • share information and start conversations
  • have fun.
Looking forward to telling my family stories.